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Holiday-inspired restaurant Lunya sets the bar for Liverpool’s future entrepreneurs.

When one couple from Walton set off on holiday in 1998, they had no idea that a change of career was on the horizon. 

A week away in the beautiful city of Barcelona in Spain was all Peter and Elaine Kinsella needed to give up their careers as a management consultant and psychologist.

Enamoured by the charm of the city, the couple established a firm plan: to create a space in Liverpool where anyone who loves good food and drink can feel as though they belong. 

Twenty years after their holiday to Barcelona, Peter and Elaine Kinsella have set up the UK’s first Catalonian restaurant, and the UK’s largest online supplier of Spanish goods (Credit: Lunya website)

Twenty years later, and inspired by their holiday, the duo have created their own restaurant chain – bringing vibrant Spanish and Catalan cuisine to their doorstep.

Lunya is an independent, multi-award-winning Catalonian deli, restaurant and bar, specialising in bespoke Spanish and Catalan cuisine.

With restaurants in Liverpool and Manchester, Peter and Elaine are fully committed to their business venture.

In their eyes, Lunya is a homage to the city and country they fell in love with. 

Peter told Mersey Community News: “When we went to Barcelona in 1998, we fell in love three times. We fell in love with the city, then the region, and then the country.

“We both gave up our careers as a management consultant and psychologist, and opened up Lunya as a consequence – thinking we needed great Spanish food and ingredients in the U.K.” 

A glimpse inside one of the Lunya restaurant entices visitors and workers alike to feel comfortable and at home. (Credit: Lunya Facebook)

Elaine and Peter’s primary reasons for kick-starting their own business will no doubt resonate with many in Merseyside.

Recent research reveals, before going on holiday this year, just under half of all Liverpool’s jet-setters considered pursuing their own business following post-holiday blues. 

Research conducted by Wix.com highlights September, October and January as the months where Liverpool workers decide to hand in their resignation. 

Furthermore, this year, 42% of those who went on holiday this year plan to chuck in their day job to pursue business ventures online. 

For Mr and Mrs Kinsella, their steps to making their adventure a reality started offline – with Barcelona and Liverpool in mind.

Peter said: “One of the reasons we fell in love with Barcelona was that, in many ways, it reminded us of Liverpool. Fabulous waterfront, magnificent buildings and a feeling that it doesn’t really belong in the country it’s based.

“I had harboured thoughts since I was at uni in the 80s of making a living out of cooking, but my career took hold. 

“The Catalan and Spanish food culture, which is centred around superb ingredients with respectful and straightforward preparation, was a perfect fit with how I felt about food. 

The Lunya restaurant in Liverpool and Manchester serves hundreds of delectable dishes – all inspired from their city break to Barcelona in 1998. [Image by Lunya Deli, Facebook]

“We wanted people to feel as comfortable as they were at home when they were eating or drinking in the city. Whether you are a bin man, a mum with babies or even a politician – we wanted to create a place where people could feel at home.  

“I think there was something missing at the time in Liverpool back then – luckily, Lunya has given us an answer.”

Since their launch in 2010, Lunya has committed to incredibly high standards. 

From sourcing local produce to artisan Catalan and Spanish ingredients, their tireless work and dedication across the years meant that Lunya soon became an astounding recipe for success. 

Rated one of the highest rated restaurants on Trip Advisor in Liverpool, Lunya has over 2,000 glowing reviews rated at “excellent’.

 Furthermore, their Liverpool restaurant won the Good Food Guide North West award in both 2015 and 2016, with their Manchester restaurant picked up the M.E.N. City Life Restaurant of the Year in 2015.

The duo have been invited to showcase their skills at five different food festivals.

The couple now run the UK’s largest online Spanish deli, featuring over 1,300 products – from tangy goat’s cheeses to show- stopping Spanish wines. [Image by Daria Nepriakhina from Pixabay]

Now, both Lunya restaurants have been named in Waitrose’s The Good Food Guide 2020, and are now the proud owners of the U.K.’s most extensive Spanish deli.

With succulent cheeses, wines and jamón on the menu, thousands across the country now enjoy the chance to sample a true taste of España – and with 1,300 different products, shoppers are spoilt for choice.

Years on, and Peter and Elaine have created a success story which many budding entrepreneurs can look up to. 

An astounding 52% of Liverpool’s holidaymakers said they would be happier working for themselves- and Mr and Mrs Kinsella say their decision to follow their hearts changed their lives for the better. 

 Peter, reflecting on their decision, told Mersey Community News

“It’s changed our lives beyond recognition – for example, we now don’t have one, and we are poor! We work seven days a week, often for 15 hours a day – but now we get the chance to see each other a lot, which is the best thing.

“I can prepare food, talk about food, see it, smell it, occasionally eat some of it – and Elaine can spread her natural charm and loveliness. 

“Most of all, we have the chance to share our passion for food and drink with anyone who cares to drop by. We love what we do, so we have never been happier – nor stressed with the present economy!

 “Our lives now revolve around food and Spain – which are our favourite things to focus on. We wouldn’t change it for the world.” 

If you would like to learn more about the Lunya restaurant, please visit www.lunya.co.uk.

Mr Kinsella talks to an audience about his journey towards launching his own Catalan chain, Lunya, at the TEDxLiverpool Talk in 2014 (Credit: TEDxLiverpool)

Liverpool – the online nomads?

Statistics on Liverpool

According to a survey conducted by Wix.com in June this year, 42% of jet-setting Liverpudlians plan to quit their jobs to pursue their own online businesses.

September, October and January are the key months where employees decide to quit, with 65% of holiday-goers dreading returning to work.

Over half of all surveyed are seeking self-employment as an alternative, and 43% of Liverpool’s workers seek flexible working hours.

When asked what type of holiday would inspire locals to pursue their own businesses, 23% said that a short city break would influence their decision.

Furthermore, 11% of Liverpudlians have extended their holiday while away, with 7% having purposely missed a flight to stay longer.

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